Thursday, 18 September 2014


London design festival

So yesterday I went to the 100% design exhibition in Earls court, London....
Wow...sensory overload!!
So much eye design candy, it's hard to know where to start!!
I came back with 2 shopping bags full of leaflets and brochures's going to take some time going through that lot!! So much inspiration!!
So for today, I am just sharing a few pics I snapped with my phone, and mentioning a few of the designers and trends that's stuck in my mind!!

Top left: origami concrete paperweights from desinere, recycled glass citrus press and egg cartons in the super design market, and modular concrete shelving, table with built in vessels for plants and concrete/wood mix pendant lights from bentu.
There was no way that I could see it all, so I concentrated on the Interiors and emerging brands sections....and boy was there some interesting stuff:
There is a definite focus on exploring new materials and processes, and also on recycling and the sustainability of new product and design..
There was quite a lot of designs in concrete, often mixed with other materials such as wood...

From top Left: Image from the emerging brands section, "cumulus" cloud light by daisuke mingle , ceramic light pendants from Estonian design house, Cork finish ,and bench by Lewis Nelson

Colored glass ware and mixed metals seems to be a big trend, as well as decorative porcelain ,marble and cork.There was fun designs exploring materials in a new way, such as the lightening clouds above.
 Pale wood was an obvious trend and furniture looked modern, but with a hint at mid-century design...

From top left: Mexican product design by shift, "Kai" Powder coated steel chair by Daniel Lau, wooden pendant lights by hope&hammer, modular storage by MoModul
Rustic wood was also having a moment, but in the form of wood-chip and plywood as well as oak and beech. There was a lot of modular furniture, especially when it came to storage, and powder coated metal in geometric forms also seems to be a big trend in furniture

Table lamp and turned oak table and planter in one by hope and hammer, patterned wall paper by Camilla Boler and baskets and throws by The
It seemed to be all about textures and materials, and the general color palette was muted pastels and grey's...Geometric prints and kaleidoscope graphics seemed to dominate textiles, soft furnishings and wall paper (along with photographic textures like weathered wood and bricks.).

Here's a few other furniture/design ranges that impressed me:
Loic bard

Emko design

Furniture by Lozi

Pinch design
There really was so much loveliness to look at....much too much for one post!
So no doubt I'll be blogging about some of my new-found design discoveries in the near future...
I also went to Heals in the evening yesterday for their new design range launch, and quite frankly: I am currently experiencing an overload of before I share anymore, I need to divulge all the visual information from yesterday...LOL!!
I have a 101 ideas floating around in my head right now, and I am getting very excited about some possible future projects!!

Stay tuned!;postID=8284451819364864907;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=18;src=link

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

How to: Whitewash wooden flooring

for that Scandi-chic look...

Yes , I did eventually get out of the kitchen the other day....Remember when I posted here about the effortlessly chic-ness of Scandinavian style whitewashed wooden flooring??
I was stuck in the kitchen waiting for the floor wax to dry!

Well, it's now finished....and I am oh-so pleased with it!!
It has really brightened up our living room, and completely changed the feel of the space!!
In today's post I will show you how I transformed our worn and yellowing pine floorboards into a lovely pale whitewashed wooden floor....but I'm not revealing too much yet of my new look living room, as I have a few projects to do still in this transformation...

I have finally turned my attention to giving our living room some much needed TLC:
And I am planning on transforming this dingy and dated room into a Scandinavian style retreat for the ever: On a tight budget...I will share with you all the little and larger DIY projects I undertake to achieve this look over the next few weeks, as well as some budget busting shopping guides to getting that Scandinavian /mid-century style for less!!

But the first BIG element essential to this transformation was sorting our flooring out!!
As mentioned before: I love the look of wooden flooring, but ours was looking grim and grubby!
We had decided earlier in the year to splurge on some nice pale laminate flooring, but as life would have it: we had to abandon those plans for financial reasons...I was gutted!!

However: Lack of money should not equal lack of style....and with pure willpower and grit and determination....and a lot of elbow grease (Yes...all that!!) and a very limited budget, I have done it:
I've finally got my pale whitewashed scandi floors....and for less than £50!!

Here's how I did it:

The first thing I HAD to do, was get rid of the old wax finish on the pine flooring!!
Yes...I am talking about the dreaded sanding!!
This is important because when you come to whitewashing your floorboards, you basically want to stain the wood, and that's not going to happen unless the wood is raw and bare!!
I'm not going to lie: it was hard work: And very dusty!!

You can of course rent a big sander to sand down your wooden flooring, but that was money I didn't I stuck with my trusted palm-sander and some 40 grit sandpaper and on my hands and knees I sanded that floor down ....down town!!

I would highly recommend that yo remove all furniture from the room before starting this....but as I was on my own, I had no chance of moving the bigger items out of the room, so I just covered the sofa etc. with old sheets before I got started. Of course this meant that I could only do one area at the time, before moving the furniture around to get to the next bit! This actually worked out alright for me, because each day I only had so many hours to work within, before having to clean up all the dust and put the room back together before I hat to go and pick up Little Miss Moo from school....

If this sounds like a long-winded process: you are right!! Working like this throughout this project, meant that it took me almost a week to finish the floors...(I told you: determination!!)
So if you can pack the kids away(if you have any!!) and move all your furniture out before trying this at home, it should only take you 2 days to whitewash your floors.

Can't you see the steely look of determination in my eyes??
(Of course I wore a dust mask whilst sanding the floor: highly recommended, unless you want dusty lungs and bogeys the size of mountains!!)

When I'd finished sanding down those floorboards I spent a good few hours cleaning and getting rid of all the dust. Don't underestimate the amount of dust you WILL create when sanding down your floor...Have a hoover ready and sweep regularly during the process.

I then painted a layer of wood bleach on to the floorboards to even out the coloring of the bare wood...taking extra care to cover any stains and darker areas in the wood! 
To be completely truthful, I am not entirely sure how much of a difference to the final look this made, and I wouldn't blame you if you miss out this step entirely (unless you have some very unsightly stains on your wooden flooring)..

So this is what my stripped down and bleached wooden flooring looked like at this stage: Already a big improvement, but not yet that pale Scandinavian wood look I was after.

For that I needed a whitewash!!
Traditionally whitewashing wood is done with lime, but I decided on the more accessible and easier (read: cheaper) solution of watered down paint!
I used some leftover white emulsion paint, mixed it up with water until I got the right milky consistency! I kept trying the mix on an inconspicuous are of the floor (IE: A corner of the room usually covered by furniture) as described below,adding more water/paint until I was happy with the finish it gave!
As a guideline, the mix i used was approximately 1 part paint:4 parts water...
Make sure you mix up enough to cover the entire don't want a different finish in half the room because you had to make two different mixes!

Working in small areas at the time I then painted the paint/water mix onto the floorboards with a brush, then using a rag/ old tea-towel wiped off the excess as i went, rubbing the white stain into the grain of the wood, until you get an even finish! (If you think the whitewash is too dense, just use a wet rag to thin out the finish)

I worked quickly, slightly overlapping the areas, and really taking care to get an even finish!
Always work WITH the grain of the wood...if not the whitewash will come out looking streaky!

You can clearly see the subtle difference the whitewash makes to the look of the wood in the picture above.
Leave the floor to dry completely before finishing it with a layer of protective wax.

I chose this hardwax oil with a hint of white in it, to enhance the paleness to the whitewash, but clear wax would've been fine as well!! I simply painted it on, making sure it covered the floor evenly..

It went on quite shiny at first, but as it's dried and cured, it's got a matte finish!
See how you can still see the grain of the wood through the whitewash?
I love that! And I even love all those imperfections in the wood that was bothering me before, now that it's got that paleness to it!!

I should perhaps mention that it might be a good idea to add another layer of wax if it is a particularly high traffic area, but I didn't want to spend any more money that I had to (besides, I don't think my poor creaky old knees would be able to handle another day crawling around on the floor), so instead I've introduced a "shoes off" policy...proper Scandinavian style!!

I absolutely love my "new" whitewashed floor: it really has done what I hoped for the room: Made it more bright and airy!!
I really had to resist showing you more pictures of my living room at this stage: the light is so lovely in here now: Whitewashing the floor was a great decision: A huge improvement to the feel of the room! But I am saving that for my big reveal later!!
But here's a peek into the hallway...same angle as the picture at the top of this post:

It does feel as fresh and clean as it looks...and for less than £50, a highly recommended home improvement DIY...even if it was a LOT of hard work!!

I have another busy week here at Nostalgiecat: It is the London design festival, and tomorrow I am heading to the 100% design exhibition  at Earls court, as well as an event at Heals, so in my next post I will be reporting from there, before tackling my next DIY project: The fireplace makeover!!